Welcome home Saturday for Kentucky National Guard unit, after year in Poland

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Photo Courtesy: Ky. National Guard shows 1163rd MCAS returning home April 10, 2021.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Family and friends welcomed home a Kentucky Nation Guard unit of 70 soldiers Saturday at the Bluegrass Airport.

The 1163rd Medical Company Area Support was deployed to Poland in June 2020 to support Operation Atlantic Resolve with medical services.

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According to the Ky. National Guard, the unit ended up focusing efforts on battling the pandemic instead.

While in Poland, the soldiers ran the first and only U.S. run certified lab to conduct COVID-19 tests and it was the designated vaccine distribution hub for all U.S. Forces in the area.

Maj. Stephanie Fields commanded the 1163rd throughout the deployment and said the contribution from her team to the COVID support to the field was critical.

Below is her full quote about the trip:

“Shortly after arriving in Poland our mission quickly became consumed with our COVID response. Much like the United States, we were dealing with COVID surges and saturated host nation health care facilities,” said Fields. “Additionally, restricted movements for all personnel impacted our supply chain management and living conditions made it very difficult to contain the spread of the virus once a Soldier became positive. Our ability to stand up onsite testing so far forward was a significant milestone to protect the force and the operational environment. This capability allowed for earlier detection and contact tracing to do be done within hours as opposed to days. From the mechanic trying to get a generator part or the patient admin and provider trying to evacuate a decompensating Soldier, the 1163rd’s dynamic thinking and dedication to their company and mission success was invaluable.”

The 1163rd Medical Company Area Support, MCAS, is located in Shelbyville, Ky.